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 Bram: I blame Subby

It was a slow day at Braminicker-Knackers Souvenir shop, and the time was just about to approach its closing hour. The shopkeeper remained in the empty store and was sweeping the empty toy aisles when he heard the chime from the door’s entrance, signaling that a customer had just walked in. He quickly went over to the register to greet this potential patron.

“How can I help you, sir? We have everything from T-shirts, shot glasses, snowglobes for the office desk, and even personalized keychains.”

“Hm? Oh, no thank you, I’m actually not planning on buying anything.” He mumbled under his breath, “I never really could find a keychain with ‘Phoenix’ on it anyways. I’m investigating a murder that occurred in this area and wanted to take a look around.”

The shopkeeper looked disheartened that he wasn’t going to make quick money off this sap, but the sound of murder intrigued him. “I’m sorry, but who are you again?”

“Phoenix Wright. I’m a lawyer.”

“Well, Mr. Wright, I’m afraid I cannot help you unless you buy something.”

“Seriously?!” Phoenix sighed. Typical capitalist Murica. “But can I ask you some questions?”

“No money, no answers.”

“Oh, come on! Someone lost their life in this exact area and you’re not going to fulfill your duties as a citizen?” Phoenix eyed him skeptically. “Unless you have something to hide.”

“I assure you, there is nothing suspicious about my store.” The moment he said that, he flicked his eyes off in a certain direction, an action that did not go unnoticed by Phoenix. He quickly fixated his gaze back onto the attorney before him, whom was now glowering questionably at him. “What?”

Phoenix narrowed his eyes at him and put his hands on the counter, leaning in close to him to observe him further. “Could you say that statement for me again?”

“Certainly. There is nothing suspicious about my store.” There it was again! Phoenix followed the man’s gaze and saw that it landed on a shelf that contained...bags full of marbles. He did not know what it meant, but there had to have been a clue somewhere.

“Really. Can you tell me why you keep looking over at the marbles when you say you have nothing to hide?” Let the grilling of Mr. Cheapskate begin.

The shopkeeper just stayed silent, another red flag for Phoenix. Finally he said, “I just wanted to make sure my marbles were well organized.”

“Uh-huh.” He wasn’t buying it. Not one bit. Phoenix went right over to the shelf, doing a double take at the man to see what he would do, then started looking over each bag of marbles. None of them gave off any tell tale signs of being used in a murder, but maybe he could have Ema dust her white powder over them later.

“Excuse me, sir.” The shopkeeper called to him. “But this shop will close in five minutes. If you do not plan to buy something, then please get out.”

Phoenix rolled his eyes; he was really getting tired of this man nagging him about store policy. Eventually, he chose the most suspicious-looking bag of marbles he could find, one that happened to have a rip in the bag, and showed it to the man. “Can I take this one? I have a feeling it’ll be an important lead in my investigation.”

The shopkeeper nodded, his expression lightening up at the prospect of finally being able to do business. “That’ll be $2.99.”

Phoenix’s jaw nearly dropped. “I have to pay?! But I need this for a clue!”

“Clue or not, I don’t care. If you don’t pay for it, then I will call the cops.”

“Over a bag of marbles.” Phoenix grumbled to himself as he unwillingly took out his wallet. “Isn’t $2.99 a bit high?”

“I charged a dollar more for you wasting time.”

This man was really pushing it now, if he wasn’t already. The lawyer side of Phoenix was just begging to argue with him further, but at this point he just wanted to go home and get to work on this investigation and sort out all the evidence he collected that day (which was virtually none except for that bag of marbles). After getting his receipt and earning a sarcastic, “please come again” from the shopkeeper, Phoenix left the store in a haste with his newly acquired evidence in hand.

--

Later that night, Phoenix was talking with Ema on the phone and was still trying to figure the odds and ends for this murder case. A person randomly found dead in their home, police believe it to be a homicide, arrest the closest person to the victim, person claimed he didn’t do it because he had an alibi, Phoenix believed him, and now Phoenix had $2.99 less in his bank account to buy marbles that could be vital to his case.

“That’s pretty crazy.” Ema said on the other line.

“That’s not even the full story.” He muttered. Maybe he should have investigated all of those marbles. Of course, that would have just been $2.99 for every one of them. He shuddered as he pictured the look on that shopkeeper’s face if he were to hand over all of that money.

“Um…Mr. Wright?” Ema spoke again, her voice filled with uncertainty. “So I ran a few tests over the marbles you gave to me and I just got the results back.”

“And?” Phoenix inquired, anxious. “What did you find?”

“…Nothing. These marbles are that. Marbles.”

“…You’ve got to be kidding me.”

“Nope. Sorry…but they’re really pretty. If you want, I can look up what kind they are, and you could probably trade them with some marble fanatics.”

“No thanks, Ema. But I appreciate your help. I’ll talk to you later.” Phoenix hung up the phone, then swore as he buried his face in his hands. “Dammit! Now what?!”

Phoenix sat in his bed a little while longer, trying to wrack his brain for more answers. After trying so hard to come up with more theories as to what could have happened, he made a conclusion: he had nothing.

“Maybe…I should just get some rest. Yeah…and something will come to me in my dreams. Something that will make sense.”

As Phoenix turned off the light and started to drift off to sleep, he couldn’t help but feel that the atmosphere in his room felt a little off that night. Oh well, it was probably nothing.

--

Phoenix later woke up in the middle of the night, groaning. His brain was tired, and he wasn’t ready to wake up yet. Besides, he still had no answers to his murder case yet. He yawned and was just about to fall right back to sleep when he realized that something seemed off about his bed…it felt softer than usual. Or rather…fleshier? He didn’t remember falling asleep with someone that night...

That’s when his tired brain fully registered that he wasn’t in his bed. He glanced down and noticed someone, a man, was underneath him. He was fully awake and staring up at him with wide eyes that practically said, “What the hell are you doing on top of me?!”

Phoenix recognized this man and not just because they shared some similar facial features. He had probably seen his portrait hung up in his grandparents’ house before, but they were faded and in sepia tone. Here it was the real deal, his great-grandfather Ryunosuke Naruhodou in the flesh. But now that begged the question…how did he even end up here?

“Uhh…” Phoenix stammered uneasily. “Hi…good evening?”

Ryunosuke looked up at him for a second, then opened his mouth to most likely start shouting at him. Phoenix quickly placed his hand over his mouth. “Wait! Um…look, you’re probably wondering why I’m here.”

He slowly nodded as he glared up at him.

“And well, um, I do too. In fact, it’s a funny story. I was just at home, sleeping, and then when I woke up I was here.”

Ryunosuke started talking under his hand, but his words were muffled and Phoenix couldn’t make anything out. He slowly lifted his hand up from his mouth and asked him to repeat what he just said.

“I’m sure what happened was a great mystery indeed, and I would like to hear more about it.” He said. “But for right now, please, could you get off of me? This is making me uncomfortable.”

“O-Oh yeah, sorry.” Phoenix grinned sheepishly and tried to move off of him. His eyes suddenly grew wide with worry when he found himself unable to budge from his position. He pushed himself up from the bed, but he was still stuck on top of Ryunosuke. He started to get a bad feeling in the pit of his stomach.

“Uh…”

“What?”

“I-I can’t move.”

“What do you mean you can’t move?”

“I think I’m stuck to you.”

“Are you being serious?”

“Yes! Trust me, if I could move, I would have gotten off of you a few seconds ago.”

Ryunosuke rolled his eyes and tried shoving Phoenix off himself. Sure enough, he barely even moved. This was getting frustrating. “Try adjusting your legs.”

“What good will that do?”

“Just do it.”

And so they did. And then another position with Ryunosuke on top. And then they tried sideways. But no matter how hard they pushed and shoved against each other, they could not force themselves apart. Phoenix, at this point, was starting to get even more concerned.

“Okay, don’t panic.” Ryunosuke panted. This was proving to be a rather strenuous activity. “I have one more plan. Lean backwards, and I’ll do the same.”

“Are you sure about this?”

“It’s worth a shot.”

“Alright…”

They struggled in leaning in opposite directions, for they could not get very far before one of them started pulling the other with them. Ryunosuke brought his feet up and awkwardly placed them on Phoenix’s thighs and attempted to push against him that way, but all of this straining soon caused him to get a cramp and he ended up crashing right into him, sending both men falling right onto the floor.

“We…can’t give up!” Ryunosuke exclaimed, still fighting to get free. “There has to be a way!”

“Ow…alright, stop!” Phoenix choked. “I don’t think putting me in a headlock will solve anything. We’re practically conjoined to each other.”

He finally relented and released Phoenix from his grasp. The attorney choked and spluttered for air as he considered his situation. Here he was, conjoined at the midsection with his great-grandfather, and most likely wasn’t even in his own timeline anymore. And on top of all that, he still had a murder to solve, find clues, investigate that souvenir shop again, and find out what he was going to do about getting ripped off about those marbles. Great.

“What am I gonna do?” Ryunosuke buried his face in his hands. “I can’t go out in public like this.”

“Well, neither can I. I guess we’ll just have to stay hidden for now. And learn how to get around with being stuck to each other.”

Ryunosuke groaned. Then he pointed a finger in Phoenix’s face. “You did this! This is your fault!”

“M-Mine? How is it my fault?!”

“…I don’t know. But I was just asleep in my bed and when I woke up, you were on top of me. So you got into my room somehow and did all this!”

“Look, I don’t know what happened either. I was sleeping, and I somehow wound up here, attached to you.”

“How does that even happen?”

“I…really don’t know. Teleportation?”

“Tele-what?”

“It’s a long story. Do you want to hear it now?”

“I guess so. We’ll be here a while, after all.”

“…The name’s Phoenix Wright, by the way. Figured I might as well introduce myself since I’ll be ‘sticking’ around for a while.”

Ryunosuke gave him a blank stare. “Too soon.”

Phoenix just sighed. “Sorry.”

“I’m Naruhodou Ryunosuke. So what’s your story?”

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